Zostera marina is a seagrass species, commonly known as eelgrass, that is found on both coasts of the United States, as well as in Europe. Unfortunately, Zostera is disappearing all over the place, including right here in New York. This could have devastating impacts on animals that rely on eelgrass as foraging grounds, or, as is the case with scallops, use it as a refuge from predation. This is its story, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring graduate student...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

NSA and BEM 2008

Photo by Stephen T Tettelbach

So, this weekend, I am preparing for the National Shellfish Association's 100th Annual Meeting, which starts Sunday night and runs thru Thursday morning. Immediately following that meeting is the Benthic Ecology Meeting, which starts Thursday and runs thru Sunday. So, the good news is I will be spending a week in Providence. The bad news is I will be spending a week in Providence. However, it is still very exciting. This will be my first NSA meeting, and I am presenting a poster on some of the bay scallop research I have been working on the past two summers. I am very excited to get feedback from scallop experts. My poster is entitled "A Bay Scallop's Brave New World: Can the introduced Codium fragile act as an eelgrass surrogate?" Now that I have been analyzing the data for a few months, and working up the rest of the samples, we are starting to see some pretty interesting results about Codium's potential as a bay scallop habitat. Also exciting is posters presented by two of my bay scallop partner's in crime, self proclaimed spat master Andrew and hose-getter Dennis, both graduate students of Stephen Tettelbach (Long Island's resident bay scallop expert) of LIU. Andrew was lucky enough to actually observe bay scallop mass spawning in the field while diving and will be presenting that work, entitled "Direct observation of bay scallop, Argopecten irradians irradians, spawning in New York waters." Not only was he able to observe this spawning event, it was part of a monitoring project looking at scallops in spawner sanctuaries and tracking gonadal indices. They were able to demonstrate that spawning occured after spikes in temperature AND periods of moderate disturbance, which was very interesting. This work has been published, and you can read it by looking up this citation:
Tettelbach, S.T. and A. Weinstock. 2008. Direct observation of bay scallop spawning in New York waters. Bull. Mar. Sci. 82(2): 213-219.

Finally, Dennis was working on 19 years worth of collected scallop shells looking at the prevalence of "small seed" scallops within scallop populations of the Peconic estuary. His poster is entitled " The Importance of Fall Recruitment in New York Bay Scallop Populations: Variability in Size of Annual Growth Rings and Total Shell Size over a 19 year period," and he has some very interesting results as well. All in all we are very excited to be presenting our scallop research at the NSA.

As for the BEM, my lab group will be well represented - 3 oral presentations and 2 posters. I will be presenting my work with hard clams and eelgrass, which I had an earlier post about. This is very exciting but also nerve-racking as it will be my first oral presentation in front of an audience of peers and experts in the field. And despite getting a pretty poor time slot (8:45 AM on Saturday morning) I am fairly confident it will be moderately well attended, especially since Paul Bologna, from Montclair State University, a seagrass expert colleague of my advisor, is giving a presentation immediately before mine.

I will check back in after its all been said and done and report anything exciting that we find!

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